For Immediate Release: September 1, 2006
Contact: James Thompson
Musgrave Working Hard to Make College Unaffordable
Marilyn Musgrave holds another “sham hearing” to distract from her special-interest votes against college students.
GREELEY—Marilyn Musgrave today is holding another taxpayer-funded campaign event to distract from her record of voting for special interests and against working Americans.
The topic of today’s sham congressional hearing in Greeley is education, but Musgrave’s record shows she continually votes against affordable, quality education in favor of special interests that rake in huge profits while undermining educational opportunities for Americans.
“Marilyn can’t run on her record, so she forces the taxpayers to fund these sham hearings that she tries to hide behind,” said State Rep. Angie Paccione, who spent nearly 20 years as an educator. “But anyone who’s paying attention can see she’s forsaking students and their families by voting to line the pockets of special interests.”
In one instance, Musgrave and Congress have slashed nearly $13 billion from federal student aid programs to help finance $70 billion in tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans.
When asked by a Fort Collins newspaper in May what she’s done for education in her four years on the House Education Committee, Musgrave replied, “I’m not thinking of anything on the federal level right now, I’m sorry.”
Testifying at the hearing is Theresa Shaw, a former senior vice president of Sallie Mae, the student loan corporation that showered Musgrave and other Congressional leaders with millions of dollars in return for their votes to raise student loan interest rates, in some cases by 40 percent of the previous rate.
Sallie Mae—which is profiting immensely from interest rate hikes—and its employees have contributed $2.7 million to Members of Congress and congressional PACs since 2002, including a total of $8,000 to Musgrave’s campaigns.
In return for campaign funds, Musgrave voted to raise the rate for Stafford loans for students who are in school, grace or deferment from 4.7 percent to 6.54 percent, a 40 percent increase. The vote raised the rate for Stafford loans in repayment from 5.3 percent to 7.14 percent, and raised the rate for PLUS loans from 6.1 percent to 7.94 percent.
After the interest rate increases, Sallie Mae gave Musgrave’s campaign a $2,000 bonus to reward her for her vote.
“When you have the same special interests who are trying to re-elect Marilyn testifying at her hearings, there’s no question that these events are campaign rallies,” Paccione said.
“It’s too bad that Marilyn is robbing the taxpayers to fund her traveling road shows. It’s worse that she’s voting for policies that favor the special interests and prevent students from getting an affordable education,” she added. “Congress needs principled leadership that will stand up to the special interests, and for the American people.”